Former Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek has revealed, as quoted by the Daily Express, that whilst the club were toiling in the final days of Brendan Rodgers he was afraid they would not act soon enough and be beaten to Jurgen Klopp by Arsenal.
The Reds sacked Rodgers in October and quickly replaced him with the Borussia Dortmund boss, who has overseen improved form and progression to two major cup finals.
The second of those is the Europa League final tomorrow night, in which victory would secure a place in the Champions League next season for the Merseysiders, as well as making Klopp the first manager since Rafael Benitez 11 years ago to win a trophy in his first season at the club.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have struggled to sustain a title challenge yet again this season under Arsene Wenger, and talk of the club sacking the long-serving Frenchman has been at perhaps an unprecedented level.
Dudek, who was in goal for that first triumph under Benitez, the 2005 Champions League, had picked out Klopp as the ideal man after speaking to the large Polish contingent at Dortmund, but admits he was scared that his former club would be beaten to the punch by Arsenal sacking Wenger.
The former goalkeeper said, as quoted by the Express: “I was scared to be honest. I don’t wish bad on anyone, but I was scared they would miss out on Klopp [by not sacking Rodgers]. I was scared maybe Arsenal would take him before us.
“I knew he had the right mentality because I spoke to [Robert] Lewandowski, [Lukasz] Piszczek and [Jakub] Blaszczkowski and they all said his mentality with the players, transmission to the supporters and knowledge of the game is so good. This is the right man for this club.
“When you see what he has done and how he is at the end of the game with the supporters, you see the passion and enthusiasm. Everyone is engaged.”